Sunday, June 27, 2010

Impressions from Annapolis, Maryland

I'll post more from this place at some other time. For now I'll just leave you with a little tableau of impressions. Click for slightly bigger. Also available on flickr.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Triptych of the forest

I love the layout tools in the print panel of LR 3. They allow you to easily do stuff such as this:

Click for bigger. Extend your browser window horizontally if this appears as if it was cut off at the edge.

These are of course images from today's earlier post.

Apex park in the rain

Two weeks ago we had a long period of rain. This is quite exceptional and I decided to go out and take some images of some of my favorite places close by where I live while wet. Here I am showing some pictures of Apex park a day after a major hailstorm that sheared off many of the branch tips on the evergreens, making the forest floor all green. It was slowly raining at the moment, so I ended up using only one lens (the Tokina 11-16 mm that was already attached) and doing most everything handheld at higher ISOs. After processing some of these images in LR 3, I was stunned that ISO 800 images from my D300 held up amazingly and I made some 16x20 prints that look absolutely gorgeous and highly detailed. Indeed you hardly need a tripod anymore with digital. These images would even look fine at 20x30 I am sure. I was completely soaked after this little hike, but luckily ,y camera is pretty well weather sealed and I used a plastic bag cover that I got from my buddy Nikos.

This is on the enchanted forest trail. One of my favorite mountain bike rides in this park:

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/13s f5.6, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

This is a Echinacea flower that was draped over a log.

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/13s f5.6, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

I photographed these same flowers before in Apex park while they were not so wet. See here and here.

Scene with trees and gorgeous greens. See a great black and white version here.

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/15s f5.6, Tokina 11-16 mm at 16mm. Half a stop underexposed and corrected in post with a graduated exposure filter to not blow out the sky too much.

Crossed logs. I love the look of the sky softened by the fog.

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/15s f5.6, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

Mouseears and tree

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/30s f8, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

Stream and logs

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/13s f8, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

Unlucky deer. I have seen mountain lions in this park before. This deer was probably a victim of one of them.

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/40s f2.8, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

The enchanted forest. This is the entrance sign to the enchanted forest trail. If you are hiking enter from this side. If you are biking, go to the next intersection with Apex trail. This trail is far more fun biking down than up. Unfortunately, the Jeffco open space committee closed this trail for bike travel the fun way on odd days. So go on an even day if you want to do this one right and go all the way up Apex and down Enchanted Forest. An even more fun way to do this is to go up Chimney Gulch, cross over to the top entrance of Apex and go down enchanted forest (only on even days!)

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/80s f2.8, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

Tree alien

D300, ISO 800, handheld at 1/60s f2.8, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.

Waterfall in Apex creek. I cloned out a little "open space boundary" sign in the background as it was a little annoying.

D300, ISO 200, tripod at 4s f11, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm.
I am amazed at the edge to edge, foreground to background sharpness on this image. At f/11 and 11mm you have a crazy depth of field that reaches from 1 foot to infinity. The near edge of the rock in the waterfall is about at 1.5 feet distance from the lens here. With a crop format and such wide angle lenses you really don't need to go much more closed with your aperture than this ever. This is good as with these lenses diffraction sets in at f/16 and will rob you of sharpness.

There is more in the set on my smugmug pages.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shooting star

Saw these neat flowers near a stream while I was out riding my mountain bike in White Ranch open space park yesterday so I had to take a picture, even if it is just cellphone quality. According to Mariska, who knows a lot about native plant botany, these are Shooting Stars. Aptly named I think.

Shooting Star

White Ranch is a superb place to go mountain biking as long as you don't follow the guide book's recommendation to go up boring Belcher Hill trail where you'll be riding a wide fire road queued up behind a 100 other bikers. Take off from that trail as soon as you can on Whippletree and take the South branch of Longhorn up. You'll see 1000's of Mouse Ears, Larkspurs, Paintbrush and such. A little later in the year there are loads of sunflowers. Then at the end of Longhorn go right on Shorthorn which hugs the side of the mountain and goes through wooded areas with lots of flowers, wildlife and mushrooms. When hitting the North branch of Longhorn go left (up) and you'll see the little stream these flowers are next to. I usually go up to the upper parking lot, loop back to Maverick and then go down on the North branch of Longhorn, which is superfun and sometimes even scary to ride down. Then cross another stream all the way at the bottom and climb out through a very plush looking field of Poison Ivy (has a lot beebalm mixed in in late summer) and a big patch of white violets (don't know what the are really called, but you can see them here in a shot from Apex park). If I have a lot of time, I will often go all the way up to the top of Belcher hill after reaching the upper parking lot and go down Mustang trail which crosses a little stream many times. Then I go back up and hit Maverick again. If you follow these routes you will see very few other bikers and be immersed in nature all the time.